“… and but he’s something stained
With grief – that’s beauty’s canker – thou mightst call him
A goodly person.”

We saw the Shakespeare Santa Cruz version of “The Tempest” last night, and I was so struck by this line that I carried it with me for the rest of the evening, determined to blog about it today.

That Bill S., he sure has a way with words, don’t he? Describing grief as “beauty’s canker” has a way of diminishing its importance, portraying it as a mere sore spot on the face of life’s greater beauty. That appealed to me greatly.

(When I looked up the stanza this morning, I found on Google Books that Prospero is really saying that grief is attracted to the beautiful. I can see how it’s framed that way in the context of the play, but I choose to keep my interpretation intact. So there.)

My life these days is astoundingly beautiful. I just went and pulled weeds in the garden for an hour, and during that time felt very close to my grandmother, who always loved her own garden. She would not want my grief for her to be an open wound in my life, but rather a small canker on the face of its overall loveliness. And really, who can argue with that?

Next up on my list of deep interpretations of literature: Orwell’s 1984, which I am currently rereading. Watch out.